Introducing Project Print-A-Toy: Let’s Donate 100,000 Toys for Kids in Need This Holiday

I’m Dan! I’m a father of 15 year old twins, long (!) time Glowforge owner, cofounder of the company, and CEO. If you read the monthly updates on our forum, you’ve probably run into me already. 

I love creating things. I love kids. And I love bringing them together. 

Here’s the thing. 

We Glowforge owners have a magic button in our life that lets us create things. In some ways, that’s a first in all of human history – a button that empowers creation. And in some ways, it’s a return to very old times. When every person was a maker, and everyone had the ability to create things for themselves and their communities.

That means owning your Glowforge makes you special. (Since you have one, you probably know this already.) And when people like us come together, real magic can happen.

This is important, because we live in an era when we could use some magic. It’s a challenging time. Watching the news, my heart breaks a little as I think about how lucky my family is. We’re safe from war and strife. We have everything we need to survive, and to thrive. We’re going to celebrate a wonderful holiday together, visiting family and sharing gifts large and small.

A lot of kids are not so lucky.

I’m guessing if you’ve read this, you know this in your heart.

In the 2022 census, the number of kids in poverty more than doubled from 2021. Now, more than 10% of kids in the US are in homes that struggle to provide food, clothing, and shelter. 

That doesn’t leave much room for holiday magic.

So it’s pretty amazing that, together, can spread a little of our own. Meet Project Print-A-Toy. Harnessing the magic of your Glowforge, you can create gifts that will bring joy to children in your community over the holidays. 

Here’s how we’ll make it work.

We’re going to give the world free toy designs. We’ve hired some amazing designers, and reached into the Glowforge back catalog to find many more. Each week, we’ll pick a theme and share some wonderful and magical gifts you can create. These will become premium paid designs for our catalog, but for one week they will be free to use for Project Print-A-Toy, and for your personal use thereafter. 

And a moment about “free”. I don’t mean free to subscribers, or even free to Glowforge owners. Free to everyone. Wait, I forgot that part.

Every creator, every maker, every crafter is welcome in project Print-A-Toy. You don’t need to own a Glowforge product; you can use a laser, a bandsaw, or an x-acto blade. We’re making all the designs available as SVGs for anyone and everyone to use. We can share this with our friends and family; we can share this with our community. And that reminds me:

We welcome any gift and every gift.  Handcrafted horses? Saddle up. Crocheted mittens? Hand them in. Laser-made jewelry? Share the sparkle. It doesn’t need to be from Glowforge designs, Glowforge materials, or anything else. There are so many kids in need – we’d love to shower them with wonderful things this holiday season.

Toys for Tots makes it easy to give your gift a wonderful home. Did you know that Toys for Tots was founded because nobody would accept a donation of a homemade doll? They’re a lovely nonprofit that has branches in all 50 states who’d love to accept your gifts to share with children in the community. But if you’re outside the US, or if there isn’t a convenient place for you to donate, don’t worry. You can donate to any nonprofit in your community – children’s hospitals, family shelters, and food banks are all great places to put your gift in the hands of someone who’ll be grateful for it.

It doesn’t stop with toys and tots. This holiday, teenagers across the country are spending the holidays in harsh conditions. Kids who don’t get many special things in their lives are going back to school. Toys for Tots serves kids of all ages, and it’s a wonderful time to think about gifts that can light a spark of joy for older kids too. 

So let’s make it (easy).

Want to have a huge impact with very little time? We’re going to make it simple to make a lot of wonderful gifts, really fast. Here’s the simple way to help. 

  1. Choose your design. Go to and choose from one of this week’s gifts. We have some great 3-D puzzles that are just print-and-gift, with no assembly!
  2. Pick your Proofgrade. We’re putting the materials you need to make this week’s design on sale – or to move even faster, drop by our partners Joann and Michaels to get a discount of 30% off all Proofgrade materials. 
  3. Give your gift. Once you get in the groove, you can turn out dozens of toys on an Aura – or hundreds on a Pro! Drop off your creations at the nearest Toys for Tots to deliver some much deserved joy to a child in need.

It’s amazing how simple it can be to have such a profound impact. And I know that, together, we can make this happen.

Think 100,000 is an ambitious goal? Here’s why I know we can do it.

Three years ago, there were many fewer of us. But we came together to do something amazing. 

In 2020, Glowforge distributed free designs for Ear Savers so that emergency workers who had masks that didn’t fit could work safely. We made the designs available and let folks know how to donate them – not too dissimilar from what we’re doing today. 

And our community came together. We donated over three million ear savers to people who needed them. It was truly incredible.

Now, during this holiday, we can come together again. We can create things for our communities, for the people in our lives who need our help the most. We can create one toy, ten toys, a hundred toys – every single one will bring a spark of joy to someone who needs it desperately this season.

I’m so grateful for you and for your support. I’m excited for what we can do together. And I’m optimistic about the future that we can make for ourselves and our communities together.